This comment addresses a key conclusion in the paper entitled "Using groundwater age and hydrochemistry to understand sources and dynamics of nutrient contamination through the catchment into Lake Rotorua, New Zealand" by Morgenstern et al. (2015). The authors analyse hydrochemistry data and conclude that "the only effective way to limit algae blooms and improve lake water quality in such environments is by limiting the nitrate load". We undertook the crucial task of examining this conclusion because it contradicts the current strategy of limiting both phosphorus and nitrogen loads to the lake, supported by a multi-million dollar programme of action. Following careful consideration, we believe that the conclusion is invalid and outline four reasons to support our assessment. Our comments do not relate to the methodology or results that are presented by Morgenstern et al. (2015), and we recognise that their paper makes an otherwise highly valuable contribution to understanding hydro-chemical processes in the catchment.
Abell, J. M., Hamilton, D. P., & McBride, C. G. (2016). Comment on “using groundwater age and hydrochemistry to understand sources and dynamics of nutrient contamination through the catchment into Lake Rotorua, New Zealand” by Morgenstern et al. (2015). Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 20(6), 2395–2401. https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-20-2395-2016